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FEMA chief on deaths from Hurricane Ian: Storm was ‘fairly unpredictable’

Damaged homes and debris are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Fla.
Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee
Damaged homes and debris are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Sept. 29 in Fort Myers, Fla. Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell noted that Hurricane Ian was “fairly unpredictable” as it approached landfall in Florida when asked on Sunday about the death toll from the storm.

Criswell, who appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, told host Jon Karl that while officials knew the storm was going to have “devastating impacts,” the storm was unpredictable, noting that Florida’s Fort Myers and Lee County was not in the cone of the hurricane prior to landfall.

“The storm itself was fairly unpredictable in the days leading up to landfall,” she said. “Just 72 hours before landfall, the Fort Myers and Lee County area were not even in the cone of the hurricane.”

Criswell added that as the storm continued to move south, local officials took action, evacuating residents and getting them to safety.

“We knew there was going to be a significant impact to life here, so we presaged a large number of search and rescue resources from across the federal family to embed right with the state resources,” she said. “To go in immediately following the storm, and that’s exactly what they did.”

She said the rescue workers are still there, accounting for anyone who needs help.

Ian left at least 54 people dead, including 47 in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba.

The storm made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, but various other areas in the state felt the impacts, including significant flooding and power outages.

Tags Deanne Criswell Hurricane Ian

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